Chapter 1: Discover Your Career Self
You’re finally starting to put the puzzle pieces together, you can see a clearer path ahead of you, and your self-assessments and occupational research have confirmed which roads you are looking to travel down and explore further. Be prepared for life to get in the way, and to adapt to the changes that are destined to happen as you learn, transition, and grow throughout different times in your life. By taking into consideration what we have learned above, it’s time to set short-and long-term career goals and identify a plan of action. Here is what you need to do:
- Identify a few career targets.
Write down potential career or employment goals that you are seeking. If you’re just starting out in the planning phase, consider having several career options identified. If you are nearing the end of your program, narrow your career target down, as having too many options may cause you to feel overwhelmed or unfocused.
- Compare and prioritize your options.
Solidify and make a comparison of potential occupations based on what you’re interested in and how realistic it is to obtain employment in the field. Prioritize your options based on your interests and by the required education and experience for the required position(s). If you do not meet the specified requirements, revise your current goal or identify what needs to be done to get there.
- Set goals and create a plan.
Figure out how you are going to act on achieving your career decisions by implementing strategic goals. Create a plan by identifying measurable tasks or criteria that you are going to complete. Focus on ensuring your goals are relevant and realistic and commit to completing them within a specified timeframe. Set long- and short-term goals at different intervals of your journey. For example, a Social Service Worker student might set a goal to secure a volunteer position with a youth-based, non-profit organization before the end of the first semester. To accomplish this, the student will reach out to three organizations of interest and search online three times a week for at least an hour.
- Talk to people, constantly.
As a best practice, you should always make it a point to have career conversations with the people around you. With every experience and opportunity you find yourself pursuing, there will be a direct link to valuable, real-life insight and advice. Information from these individuals will not only help you to better prepare for your career, but they will also help you manage your expectations, and provide you with support and access to opportunities you may not have otherwise known about.